Zimbabwe women’s football coach to appear in court on sexual assault charges

Zimbabwe’s coach Shadreck Mlauzi gives instructions to his players during a group F match of the women’s Olympic football tournament between Canada and Zimbabwe in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016. The temporary head of the Zimbabwe Football Association will wait to hear from the police before deciding on the future of women’s soccer team coach Shadreck Mlauzi after he was charged with sexual assault, it was reported on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Nelson Antoine, File)
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HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The coach of Zimbabwe’s women’s soccer team will appear in court on Wednesday after being charged with sexual assault, police said.

Shadreck Mlauzi was accused of unwanted sexual advances by an assistant coach on his staff during a southern African regional tournament and is still in custody.

The temporary head of the Zimbabwe Football Association said he will wait to hear from the police before deciding on Mlauzi’s future.

“We will allow the police to do their job, without prejudice. As the national association, we will follow the police’s lead,” Lincoln Mutasa, the leader of the federation’s interim governing body, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

“All we can say for now is that everybody who went on that trip (to South Africa) signed a code of ethics certificate, and as an FA we are going through our own investigation. But on this one, we will be guided by the best qualified authority, who is the police in this instance.”

Police in Harare said Mlauzi will appear in court for a second time on Wednesday.

The tournament in South Africa was Zimbabwe’s first competitive matches since the country’s 17-month international ban for government interference was lifted by FIFA in July.

The Zimbabwe Football Association also said it had requested that its men’s World Cup qualifier against Nigeria in November be staged in Rwanda.

Zimbabwe’s stadiums were deemed substandard by the Confederation of African Football in February 2020 and have been banned.

Zimbabwe will open World Cup qualifying at Rwanda in November. The team is due to host Nigeria four days later at home. However, the federation has requested to stay in Rwanda for the second match.

The change must be approved by CAF and FIFA.